Allah will not allow tears in my life that He Himself cannot dry.

If you let this go, if you don’t let this pain control you, and if you choose gentleness, and if you choose mercy, then Allah will most definitely reward you. But if you choose to stay in this state, you will only spiral down. Yes, you may not deserve this hurt, but getting back up, choosing to forgive, and letting go – that’s on you. That’s your responsibility. So chin up. And smile. And choose love.
Always choose love, Aida. Because Allah is love.
And with the smile still on my face, I picked myself up from my bed, wiped the tears off my face, took my Wudu’, and went back to the safest place in the world. And as soon as my forehead hits the floor, I broke down all over again but this time round, I cried with full conviction knowing that Allah will not allow tears in my life that He Himself cannot dry.
– From one of Aida Azlin’s Tuesday Love Letters titled “Note To Self: Read When Sad/ Hurt/ In Pain”
Friends, if you’re a female (I think it’s only for women) and you love uplifting messages like this, please subscribe to Aida Azlin. Her Tuesday Love Letters are always so beautiful and always so opportune, masyaAllah. Her latest Love Letter is about mothers. She has a Tuesday Love Letter Archive on her website if you missed the previous ones, so don’t fret. 
Love, Amelia

Updates, Musings and Reminders

Assalamualaikum friends!
I’ve been going all out customising my blog these past few days. I love blogging and I love putting in the extra effort to make my blog look as professional as I can. I’m not very good at it but I try my best. Unfortunately, WordPress, unlike Tumblr, limits my ability to fully customise my blog theme as I’m not a Premium user. I’ve also thought about making this blogging thing a sideline job because it can be quite fun. But that would also require commitment, and courage because I would have to really put myself out there. Of course, I also need to promote myself so people would know about my blog. I don’t think I’m able to do that for now. I’m not sure if I’ve said it before, but I feel very insecure when I know people are reading my blog. I’d rather not know who reads my blog because when I do, it makes me feel judged. I mean, I’m generally quite insecure so I reckon that’s why.
I’ve  also been thinking a lot about what minor programme I should take up. I’m currently thinking of English, Psychology, Sociology and Communications. Communications is a back-up plan. Psychology and Sociology are useful for my major. I’ve done both before – Psychology in polytechnic and Sociology in university (as a common core module), albeit briefly. English is another option because I really do want to hone my English language abilities. I love writing, I may be relatively good at it (Alhamdulillah), but not exactly spectacular. I would choose it because of personal reasons but it won’t be necessarily helpful for my major. I suppose I’ve got a bit of thinking and researching to do.
I had my Fiqh (for Muslimah) class yesterday at Masjid Al-Istighfar. We’ve covered istinjak, wudhu, and bodily discharge so far. Next week’s class will be on solat so Ustazah talked briefly about the story of Isra’ and Mi’raj at the end of class. I’ve heard about it before when I attended madrasah many years ago but I’m not very familiar with it, regrettably. I almost teared when Ustazah shared the story with us. I cannot wait to hear more next week. Alhamdulillah, I’m thankful Allah swt moved me to attend this Fiqh class. I was slightly reluctant before because I had wanted to attend a class or regular talks that discusses personal, relatable day to day issues. However, I realised that Fiqh is a fundamental in Islam, so in order to better myself as a Muslimah, I thought it would be best to begin with the core aspects.
This morning, as I was going through the notes I’ve saved on my phone while having breakfast, a particular one called out to me. Several months ago, I met my friends and during our usual heart-to-heart conversations, I took down notes I told myself I would share on my blog. I’ve had all the time in the world to do it but I never did, I have no idea why. But now I will. May you find it useful, insyaAllah.
Reminder 1: Only attach ourselves to Allah.
I think we’ve heard this many times before, but humans are ‘insan’; we forget, so we constantly need to be reminded to never attach ourselves to anyone or anything but Allah. Depend solely on Allah. Live to impress Allah. We are weak and needy creatures, and only Allah can satisfy our needs.
Reminder 2: Patience, tawakkul and contentment, always. 
This is from my friend, A’aishah. These 3 values are her biggest life lessons she took away from 2017. She has a blog too where she shares valuable lessons and stories all of us can learn from.
Reminder 3: Never push away a beggar. 
Regrettably, I’ve done this before (astaghfirullah), not in contempt, but because of my personal thoughts on begging. I wasn’t exactly rude – I simply shook my head apprehensively, without making eye contact. At the same time, I didn’t smile, nor was I pleasant or gentle. I get especially annoyed when I see the person who begs holding on to a pack of cigarette, smoking away as he or she asks people for money. I also question whether the person who begs is really in need of money. I question why they don’t put in the effort to earn a job when they have a perfectly working pair of hands and legs. When I lamented to my friends and sister on different occasions, they reminded me not to have such thoughts. We don’t know their story; seeing is not always believing. Whatever their intentions may be, and whether we decide to sedekah or not, we should always, always be gentle. Good akhlak, always.
Reminder 4: Hidayah ultimately comes from Allah. 
Never feel you are better than others, not even those who are seemingly ‘straying’ away from Islam or Allah. You’re only where you are because of Allah.
Reminder 5: You are running your own race/ Everyone’s life timelines are different. 
Never compare yourself with others. Your chapter 5 may be someone else’s chapter 2, and that’s okay, because you’re always where you’re meant to be at that point in time; doing what you’re supposed to be doing. In whatever that you do, just remember to work hard and tawakkul.
Reminder 6: Everyone has different roles and purpose in this world. 
Every individual has different strengths, talents, abilities. Do your da’wah by exploiting what you’re good at. Focus on what you have and what you can give.
Reminder 7: To properly know someone, live with them, travel with them or do business with them. 
The last one (I think that’s how it goes) is not exactly a reminder. I think it’s very true. You won’t properly know someone unless you’ve done any of the three.
Hopefully these reminders will be as useful for you as it was for me. Heart-to-heart conversations with my best friends are always so wholesome and valuable.
Love, Amelia

As Women by Alia Taha

As women, we innately yearn to nurture. To care for something. Someone. Look at a mother when her children begin to leave home. They may feel without purpose.
Before a family, a woman can still feel without purpose. I do not judge the girl seeking something to care for in the wrong places. She’s simply lost in her search. Lost because as much as a woman needs to comfort, she needs to be comforted. As much as she loves, she needs to be loved. And if she does not see her value, she will give give give and run empty from not receiving. She will believe the promises. She will only see the dream painted for her, not the reality she lies in.
Beautiful sisters of mine, it is not superficial or selfish to wait on formality. Formality is respect. Respect is love. Love is from God. God is peace. Peace is where a blessing can be seen. A blessing of a person deserving of your comfort.
-alia taha

I’m not okay.

I thought I was okay but I’m not. I’m not okay. I tried to tell myself I’m strong enough and perhaps I am (afterall Allah does not burden a soul more than it can bear) but it feels so hurtful. I try to understand his perspective but it doesn’t make sense to me. I can’t understand it. I can’t understand how someone would be willing to put in the effort and to do the things he does only to treat me like a friend. We talked almost daily. How long did he intend to talk to me like that for if I hadn’t brought up the topic? 8 months? A year? 2 years? In my understanding, friends don’t talk daily. I can accept if we were not meant to be but I find it so hard to accept the things he did.
I saw this yesterday and I find it so relatable.
I can’t say for sure I fell for him but I did grow attached (which is my mistake). I liked the attention. I liked the interest he showed in me. I liked talking to him. Prior to him, I hardly enjoyed talking to any guys. I began to harbour hope right from the beginning (again, my mistake). I let my guard down. I shared with him things I never shared with any male friends before. I shared with him so much of myself. I invested so much emotions into it. I pushed away other guys who wanted to talk to me because I didn’t like how that made me feel. It made me feel uncomfortable. It made me feel unloyal (bullshit. I bet he didn’t even care).
Many times I felt confused because he seemed interested yet he didn’t seem interested enough. It seemed many of my friends knew he just didn’t like me enough. Or liked me that way. I read articles that proved me that that was probably it. Deep down, I knew that was probably the truth but I denied that possibility. I refused to believe it. I held on to the hope for 6 whole months. It was very precious to me. It was the first time I ever talked to a guy (and enjoyed it) for so long.
But I got tired of it and needed an ultimatum. I would never commit to talking to a guy so often (yes, just talking) without an outcome in mind. It’s just not who I am. So I prayed and asked Allah for His guidance. And suddenly, I was moved to properly clarify it with him. I’ve put it off for too long.
And I got my answer (Alhamdulillah). I wasn’t surprised. But it still hurt. I know there’s a reason why I’m being put through this. I told myself I was strong enough to handle it.
I am strong.
It’s okay.
I’ll feel better.
Time will heal me.
But I don’t feel okay. Not right now. I tried to be objective. When I messaged him, I tried my best to show that I was okay. But I’m angry. I’m angry and I’m hurt. I am angry that he doesn’t see how his actions hurt me.
And I felt for all the women around me.
All of a sudden I was so angry at men.
I am angry at all the men who treat a woman’s feeling so lightly. I am angry at all the men who thinks it is okay to talk to multiple women at the same time and make each of them feel like they’re special. I am angry at all the men who make advances towards a woman just because they like how she looks. I am angry at all the men who follows a woman they don’t know on social media when they have a girlfriend. I am angry at all the men who have the nerve to have a flirtatious conversation with another woman when they have a girlfriend or a wife.
I will never EVER be flattered by a man who decides to talk to me just because of how I look. I am more than how I look. Looks are nothing compared to a person’s characteristics.
InsyaAllah I’ll be okay.

A Love That Binds (Part 2)

Salam friends! Here’s part 2 of the talk I attended. Scroll one post down for part 1 but for easier reference, you could click here.
Love for Rasulullah S.A.W – Ustazah Nazeerah 
“By time, indeed, mankind is in loss, except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” – Al-Asr
  • Show our love for our Prophet SAW through actions (not simply words) (start with easy ones i.e. smiling!!! So simple!)
    • Following his legacy: 1) sunnah, 2) hadith (if we hold on to these, we won’t go astray, insyaAllah)
    • Before we can follow his legacy, we need to know his legacy (by learning about him)
      • His akhlak is as per written in the Quran
      • Learn about him by reading, understanding and reflecting the Quran (a manual for the way of life)
      • Reflect on our actions daily!
        • “Would Prophet SAW be proud of me should he see me doing this? Wear this? Etc.”
      • Contributing to the community
        • Most powerful platform to contribute to community: through sharing and imparting knowledge
          • “From the moment you leave home to seek knowledge to the moment you reach home after seeking knowledge, you will be protected by the angels and the fishes in the ocean are making dua for you.”
          • Whoever wants both dunya and akhirah, seek knowledge
          • A mother is a child’s first madrasah (shows the power of women and the role of mothers in imparting knowledge to children)
        • Follow traits of those who learnt from Prophet SAW first-hand
          • Saidatina Khadijah r.a.
            • Climbed the hill to Gua Hira and carry food and water for Prophet SAW
            • Although she was experiencing a challenging time, she did not give excuses. Instead, she sees and utilises opportunities in the face of struggle to portray her love and devotion for her husband through actions
            • Love is not just a feeling and is more than just words – it also consists of actions, commitment, etc
            • The moment you tell someone “I love you”, it has become an amanah (responsibility) for you to properly show your love for that person
            • Nothing you do for Prophet SAW will be futile (i.e. Allah built a paradise within a paradise for Saidatina Khadijah r.a. for all the efforts she had made for her husband)
          • Lesson: 2 ‘S’s – Syukur & Sabr
            • Syukur
              • Not only about being grateful but also being contented
              • Being grateful and contented with the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon us
              • Grateful vs content
                • Grateful: Feeling appreciative, saying ‘thank you’, etc
                • Content: Qanaah, redha – what we have is what we need, what we don’t have is what we don’t need (or don’t need yet) as per the knowledge of Allah SWT (because Allah SWT never makes mistakes)
              • Sabr
                • Mentioned over 90x in the Quran – shows just how important it is and how hard it is to achieve sabr
                • But it’s possible if we have the first ‘S’ (syukur)
                • LIFE IS FAIR – because Allah is the BEST OF PLANNERS
                • How much have we complained? It is not wrong to complain but how do we complain? To who do we complain? About who do we complain?
                  • It is okay to complain to Allah through prayers, dua, etc
                  • But it is not okay to complain about Allah (E.g “Ya Allah, why is my life so unfair? Why did You have to give me this hardship?”) on wrong platforms (publicly i.e. Facebook, Instagram, etc) because it means you are complaining about what Allah (Al-Khaliq; The Creator) has given you (when He makes NO mistakes)
Other notes:
  • Selawat to prophet daily
  • Utilise surahs that you have learnt in your solat (to practice what you’ve learnt) – knowledge without practicing is meaningless; practicing prevents you from forgetting
    • “Ya Allah, make it easy for me to practice all that I have learnt for nothing can happen without your will and guidance.”
  • Practice what you preach (to the best of your abilities)
  • When you are in doubt, SEEK REFERENCE FROM A TEACHER (You need a teacher! You cannot learn on your own especially in matters concerning the religion)
  • Strength of A Muslim
    • Strength of a faith
    • Strength of a sisterhood/ brotherhood
    • *To succeed as a Muslim, you have to have faith and be committed to the faith, and tap on the strength of a sisterhood (i.e. support, advice, share knowledge with one another)
  • Istikharah EVERYDAY because we make choices everyday, even for the smallest things, and you need Allah’s guidance daily

A Love That Binds (Part 1)

Salam friends!! I thought of sharing what I’ve learnt for the talk I went to on the 16th of December conducted by Ustazah Shameem and Ustazah Nazeerah. I had initially wanted to share the audio because I recorded the talk but I’m not sure if it would be appropriate to do so.
I really tried my best to present the content in an understandable format. If there is anything that seems inappropriate, do let me know!
Love for the Creator and His Creations – Ustazah Shameem 
  • When you put too much dunya in your hearts and you try to put Allah in it, it contradicts
    • The heart controls the mind and limbs (actions/behaviours)
    • That’s why when you solat, it’s hard for you to khusyuk because your mind tends to be occupied with worldly concerns
    • If we spend most of our daily lives on dunya or thinking about dunya and only approximately 25 minutes on Allah SWT (during solat) it would be impossible to suddenly get ourselves to be khusyuk in our solat
    • So, remember Allah 24/7; associate and connect every (good) thing that we do to Him in our daily lives; put Allah first; talk to Him 24/7 (not only in prayers/ dua, etc.)
      • Put dunya in our hands and Allah SWT in our hearts
      • It is all in our control; only when we’ve emptied our hearts of dunya can Allah be in it, and thus, you can find peace
    • Two things to help you not go astray: Quran and Sunnah
      • Ask yourselves: If Rasulullah SAW was there, how would he advice you?
      • At this age (17-20s), we are blessed with 1) energy/stamina, 2) time, 3) nafsu (desire to learn, etc)
      • Study – Study the Quran; study Arabic; go for classes (Fiqh, Sirah, Aqidah, etc); attend halaqah, syarahan, etc
    • If your intention is for Allah SWT, insyaAllah Allah SWT will open the path for you no matter how long or how challenging the process is
      • Be patient! When you make dua for Allah SWT to grant you something, Allah may not give it to you immediately. Allah makes you go through different sets of challenges and struggles to prepare you for what you’ve prayed for
    • Plan
      • Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
      • Plan, work hard towards your goal, istiqamah (be steadfast), be patient and TAWAKKAL
        • We can never think like Allah (Al-Khaliq; The Creator)
        • Allah promises us there is good/ wisdom behind everything that happens to us but often, it is hard for us to see it
        • So just tawakkal (trust in Allah’s plan)
      • Qn: How do we place our trust in Allah SWT in school (or anywhere else, for that matter)?
        • Allah SWT sees our efforts, so we do what we can to the best of our abilities and tawakkal
        • If you do both (work hard and tawakkal), insyaAllah Allah will plant a sense of contentment in our hearts
        • So whatever the outcome (pass or fail), you know it is what Allah has preordained for you for Allah controls the outcome
        • “And whoever who has taqwa* – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him (rizq) from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” – At-Talaaq, verse 2 and 3
          • *Taqwa – God-consciousness, fear of Allah
        • Ask yourselves: Are you at peace with whatever you’re going through right now, no matter how chaotic they may be?
          • If you are, it shows how you’re trusting Allah (faith, tawakkal)
          • Being grateful and content will bring you peace in your heart
            • You are the way you’re supposed to look like (in reference to social media culture wherein individuals often compare themselves with others)
            • Allah made you that way and know that Allah is with you
            • Instead of dwelling on how you look, work hard for your inner beauty and better yourselves as individuals
          • 3 steps: 1) Intention (for the sake of Allah), 2) Plan, 3) Tawakkal
            • Allah is the best of planners and He will place you wherever you are meant to be
          • ABC (Adversity, Behaviour, Consequences)
            • If you can’t change your adversity, change your behaviour (how you respond to your adversity)
          • Qn: How do I avoid feeling inferior around friends who are so ‘MasyaAllah’?
            • It is important to remember that everyone has their own struggles as a Muslim; in maintaining their faith, in making mistakes, etc.
            • Hadith: If someone reads the Quran fluently, he will have one reward; if someone doesn’t read the Quran fluently and struggles but tries his best to learn, he will have two rewards – one for reading the Quran, another for his struggle
            • Use the good we see as a motivator for us to work hard to be better versions of ourselves
            • Know that you have Allah and Allah has your back; He is here with us every step of the way
            • Say Alhamdulillah that Allah has given you the hidayah and work hard to be a better Muslimah; you don’t have to compare yourself with others because the more you compare yourself with others, the less you will feel contented
              • The only person you should compare yourself with is yourself – compare your current self with the person you were 5 years ago; a year ago; yesterday
            • Qn: How do we find peace through dua and dzikr?
              • Must understand the meaning of dua/ dzikr in order to internalise them; tadabbur (ponder over the meaning of the verses of the Quran and contemplate them because it is NOT SUFFICIENT to simply recite the Quran profusely and reading its tafsiran without understanding and reflecting)
              • InsyaAllah you will be able to find peace

The thing about pain


Here’s the thing about pain.

It will consume you. It will overwhelm you. It will make you feel like nothing else is worth living for. It will control you. It will burden you. It will be something you carry in your heart for long periods of time. You won’t be able to forget it. You won’t be able to focus in other aspects of your life as you normally would, because the thing about pain, it can really overtake you.

But here’s the thing about healing. You have to forgive yourself first. The Most Merciful has been showering His Rahmah onto you, what about more, we say Alhamdulillah for everything that has been ordained upon us. Really say, “Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal” and believe it. Because the thing about healing is, it has to start from you. Make the change you wanna see. Ultimately, rely on Him. “إِنَّا…

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My Iso Journey (1-3 months)

Good afternoon lovely people.

Today, I have decided that I will document my isotretinoin (iso) journey for those who might find it useful. I’m only into my third month but I’ll provide updates as I progress.

I’m prescribed 10mg dosage (Acnotin) by my local GP doctor and I take it once daily. According to my knowledge, I am supposed to carry out a blood test prior to iso treatment. My dermatologist at Changi General Hospital kept on reiterating the importance of taking a blood test if I wanted to take iso. Oddly, my GP doctor didn’t get me to take a blood test. I’m also aware that the dosage prescribed typically depends on a patient’s height/weight but those, too, weren’t taken into account in my case. Now that I think about it, the whole process was so quick. It almost exactly went like this: I told the doctor I wanted to take iso and frustratingly explained to him the prior treatments I had undergone (antiobiotic treatment for approximately 2 years) to which he replied, “That is too long. You shouldn’t take antibiotics for that long.” After very briefly examining my skin condition, he instantly prescribed me the medication. Aaaand that was it.

I want to firstly clarify that I am in no way knowledgeable in the area. I did do some research but mostly relied on people’s accounts and my doctor hardly explained anything to me. I do know, however, that iso is risky business because it has plenty of side effects. One should only resort to iso if other treatments fail. But, this I have to say – to the people who are in the same boat as me: DON’T EVER take antibiotics for that long. Dermatologists often refuse to prescribe patients iso because of its risk. But once your body is immune to antibiotics, they become ineffective. Continuing antibiotics treatment for too long is simply a waste of time and money.  My dermatologist at CGH refused to prescribe me iso which is why I stopped seeing her. Now back to side effects of iso. My doctor only mentioned to me that I may experience dry lips and skin (perhaps because my dosage is very low) but I know that there are far more side effects than just those. If you want a detailed explanation, you can read about it here. The author also provided a comprehensive account of her iso journey which I found extremely helpful but this is my favourite part from her whole account:

According to dermatologist Dennis Gross, MD, isotretinoin is the “closest thing to a cure [for acne that] we have”…To be clear, notes Dr. Gross, “cured” means you won’t get pimples again. Ever.

I mean!!!! Honestly, I’ve forgotten what it was like to be pimple-free. I haven’t had acne for very long (about 3 years), but it was long enough to make me forget what it was like to have clear skin. At this point, I am no longer concerned about having flawless skin. Admittedly, it would be nice to have skin as smooth as a baby’s bum but that’s not important to me anymore. I just want the acne gone. That statement literally made me squeal. There is hope. InsyaAllah. But, boy, the process is not easy at all and I am certainly not excited for it.

I cannot recall exactly what happened during the first month but if I remember correctly, there were only slight improvements and negligible side effects. I cannot say for sure if the medication made my lips dry because my lips have always been dry anyway, but I can safely say that it did not worsen the condition. At least during the first month. While I’m on this topic, let me just quickly mention: Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask is a GODSEND for dry lips.

Image result for laneige pomegranate lip mask

It’s slightly costly but you do get a lot of product which can last you for up to months. Just to be clear, it’s not a lip balm. It’s a lip mask which you have to leave on overnight. You could use it as a lip balm if you want to but I wouldn’t recommend it because it has quite a sticky/tacky texture. Oh, I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it is. It makes my lips so soft and supple and so luscious. Ughh I loveeeeee. If you have dry lips, buy it!!! You won’t regret it.

Back to iso. The progress during the first half of the second month was close to nil but by the end of the second month, my acne began to multiply. It was so frustrating but it didn’t occur to me that I was experiencing purging until my sister pointed it out. Purging (or initial breakouts) is common during iso treatment. I don’t know the Science behind it but it happens. I’m still at my purging phase and as exasperating as it is, I know I have to be patient. I’m on the road to better skin. This will pass. I’ll just have to swallow whatever agony that comes my way during the journey. There’s just this one hugeass, painful cystic acne that I’m not happy about. It has been here for bloody weeks sitting casually beneath my right brow. So annoying. It’s SO PAINFUL okay. Ugh. I’m still very hopeful, nonetheless. The author I talked about earlier saw improvements into her fifth month of iso treatment and her acne was far worse than mine. I’m soooo bloody excited!!

By the way, I want to briefly talk about a homemade Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) toner that I’ve recently introduced into my daily routine. ACV has long been reported to be useful for acne because of its anti-bacterial properties. I’ve seen it in many threads for ‘clear skin’ on Instagram/Twitter but I’ve never thought of using it until recently when I chanced upon a blog detailing its benefits. I added 1 to 3 ratio of ACV (I use Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar) and distilled water for the toner concoction (add more water for sensitive skin) and have been using it for slightly more than a week now. I know it’s a bit of a stretch to claim that it’s effective since it hasn’t been long since I’ve started using it, but I really think it’s been helping with my scarring. I read somewhere that it works like a chemical peel treatment, wherein a chemical solution is applied to the skin, making the skin “blister” and peel off, giving room for new, smoother skin to form. It makes sense because ACV is acidic. I am not so sure if it’s good to use concurrently with iso treatment but I read that it’s okay to do so except I’ll have to be careful because ACV may dry up the skin further…which I can see is what’s happening now. Welp. If it’s proven to be truly effective for me, it means I can save some money which I would have used for a chemical peel/ microneedling treatment. It should be noted that the ACV treatment can only help with scars that are not deep. I’ll just see how it goes and will provide updates along the way!

Love, Amelia